El Dorado supervisor Ray Nutting faces felony charges over state grants
Editor's note: Most complete and objective story to date. Good work Sac Bee.
A veteran El Dorado County supervisor was arrested Tuesday on four felony charges for allegedly shielding more than $70,000 in state income for brush-clearing on a family ranch.
The charges also allege that Supervisor Ray Nutting, 53, violated conflict-of-interest laws by failing to recuse himself from votes on county contracts with conservation districts that distribute the state funds for fire prevention.
Nutting, a fourth-generation rancher and timber harvester, is a well-known political figure who has run six times for the Board of Supervisors, most recently winning his fourth term in 2012.
Nutting earned a reputation as a foil for environmentalists and as a pro-development politician standing against government intrusion on private property rights.
In recent months, he came under political fire for accepting more than $70,000 in California Forest Improvement Program grants in 2003 and 2009 for brush-clearing work he performed himself on his family's 340-acre property in south El Dorado County.
The program is intended to reimburse private landowners to clear brush and remove other fire hazards. Cal Fire officials said such grants are routinely awarded whether property owners hire contractors or do the work themselves...
Nutting has made his response available for anyone to read at www.RayNutting.com